S.S. Stewart brand TB-11


The banjo pictured above is labeled "S.S. Stewart" but was in fact manufactured by Gibson.   During the prewar period Gibson produced instruments for a number of other companies, including Montgomery Ward which sold Gibson-made instruments under the Recording King brand.

The pot of this banjo is identical to that of a Gibson style 11, featuring pearloid decorated with red and black silkscreened designs on the back of the resonator along with a blue finish on the rim, the sides of the resonator, and the back of the neck.  Although other colors are seen on these banjos, blue seems to be the most common and style 11s are consequently sometimes referred to as "blue banjos".  The hardware on this banjo is nickel-plated and the one-piece flange is pot metal.  Style 11 banjos had a small brass hoop which rested on top of the rim, but no Mastertone-style tone ring.

The neck of this banjo differs from Gibson's style 11.  Although it shares style 11's pearloid-veneered peghead overlay and fingerboard, the stenciled designs are not the same as those found on style 11 and the peghead is a non-Gibson shape.

Photos courtesy of Arnold Zobrist.